The famous Three Peaks of Mikuradake will thrill as you negotiate steep rocky cliffs and amaze with the breathtaking views they have to offer.
I have been wanting to do this hike since we got here and we finally did, as a family! I emphasize that because it was not easy to care for a two- and a three-year-old while scrambling up slick cliffs using vines and chains.
With that said, we had a lot of fun and the kids did great. Jeannie stayed on my back the whole time – I still use the Ergo carrier with her. Royce, on the other hand, was excited to do “hard things,” so he actually hiked part of it. Matt carried him up and down some stair sections, but he was more than willing to clamber up the steep parts between Matt’s arms. We do wish that we would have had a backpack for him, too. During the parts that he didn’t want to climb, it would have been much safer to have him strapped to one of us.
Pro tip: Some areas can be dangerous! Using a backpack for young children will keep your hands free, but make sure your kids are secure!
Peak 1 – Asahidake – “Sunrise Mountain”
We started up the B trail and descended down the A trail because we heard that way was easier. It was a nice clear trail with several sets of stone stairs. There were a few areas to stop along the hike where local nationals were rock climbing. Some of the rock faces had hooks for anchoring. Note that if you want to do some rock climbing, Hiroshima Prefecture asks that you submit a notification to an administrative building in Otake City!
When we got to the base of the first peak we decided to stop and have lunch. We were pretty tired from the hike (Matt carried Royce a lot), so we let our friends go explore the peak while we ate. We actually never saw the view from the very top! After the break, though, things really got fun. I would much rather do technical climbing straight up a cliff then have switchbacks and stairs, so the hike between the three peaks was the easiest part for me.
Peak 2 – Nakadake – “Daytime Mountain”
On the way to the second peak, we found the first of several steep “vine and chain” areas. Jeannie wanted to be helpful so she started pulling on some of the vines, too. She also started to grunt with feigned exertion during several parts of the journey (Maybe she was mimicking me…I can assure you my exertion was not feigned!). Assess your ability to climb before you go up – you have to come back down, too!
The view from Nakadake was beautiful. There wasn’t a lot of room to run around up there, so we didn’t feel comfortable putting the kids down. Royce was able to spot our car down below in the parking lot – we hadn’t even noticed it!
Peak 3 – Yuhidake – “Sunset Mountain”
Then on to the last of the three peaks! There were more vines and chains, adventurous and fun but not too strenuous. Some of the climbs were a bit wet – be sure you have grippy shoes!
When we got to the top it was fun to explore, but we didn’t think the view was especially great because there was a big boulder in the way. Then we realized we could walk around the boulder – that was where the real view was! It was incredible! Japan is beautiful whether you are driving through it or are high above it. In this case, we felt truly inspired and grateful to be here, with panoramic views while peering over sheer cliffs.
The way back wasn’t too bad, just a lot of stairs, which is why I was happiest between the peaks. Climbing cliffs will always be better than stairs or switchbacks!
There was a point, towards the end, right after one of the little bridges that crossed a stream, where we weren’t sure which way the path was going. It forked, and neither path seemed especially well-used. Luckily we had some scouts (our friends!) that ran ahead in both directions and were able to point us the correct way – which was to the right!
We finished the hike happy and worn-out. We had a great time, and thought the climb was exactly what we had been hoping for. We are excited to again! There are over 80 campsites for those of you who want to get an early start on your hike! There are also 6 bathrooms and 3 cooking areas. We have not camped here, but I’m sure that ITT would help set it up for you.
Have you hiked Three Peaks? How does it compare to your favorite hikes?
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Photo Credit: Thanks to Tuan and Dane for collaborating with us!